National camps for elite athletes to continue at SAI centres

Ten athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru centre.

Adille Sumariwalla, the president of the Athletics Federation of India, also confirmed that the national camps would not be closed.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Around 10 athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru centre and some of them have been hit for the second time. And despite the SAI putting out a release on Monday that it is closing down 67 SAI training centres across the country, it will not affect the elite athletes who are preparing at SAI's national camps for this year's majors including the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.

“The SAI has different schemes like STC, NCOE, National camps, academic institutions, only the STC training centres have been asked to close down. And if there students studying in classes 10, 11 or 12, and if they have their exams scheduled, we have a provision to allow them to stay also,” G. Kishore, the Director of the SAI-LNCPE centre in Thiruvananthapuram, told Sportstar on Monday.

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“The NCOE (National Centres of Excellence), National camps and regional centres and academic centres will function following COVID protocol and directions from the health ministry. The athletics national camp will go on. In Thiruvananthapuram, only one athlete tested positive (for COVID) and he has kept in isolation.”

The sprinter, quartermilers, relay runners and hurdlers' national camp is now on in Thiruvananthapuram. And since the track relaying work at Thiruvananthapuram's SAI-LNCPE centre is yet to be completed, Kishore said that the athletes would be taken in special vehicles to other synthetic tracks in the Kerala capital for training.

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“They will be taken at a specified time with proper care and protection. Also, once in a while to the beach, for beach running,” he said.

Adille Sumariwalla, the president of the Athletics Federation of India, also confirmed that the national camps would not be closed.

Meanwhile, around 10 athletes have been hit by COVID at the Bengaluru SAI.

“In jumps alone, four to five got COVID but many don't have any symptoms. Two to three coaches also tested positive,” said a leading athlete from the Bengaluru centre.

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